Dorothy Mae Tenberg, 93, of Gonzales, passed away Wednesday, Nov. 29. Dorothy was born March 17, 1924 in Olustee, OK to J.H. and Ruth Rosser Conger. She married Garland Frank Tenberg, Sr. on November 21, 1945 in Bellville, IL. Dorothy was a member of the First United Methodist Church.
Dorothy was born and raised in Olustee, OK. She suffered the hardships of the Great Depression and the Dust Bowl eras. The depression affected many nations of the world and the dust bowl affected lands from Canada to Texas, some believe the worst hit areas of the dust bowl was the Oklahoma Panhandle and Olustee is just south of the Oklahoma panhandle. Images of these times and sufferings in Oklahoma have been perpetuated in John Steinbeck's novel “The Grapes of Wrath.” These times of world-wide and regional deprivation are noted only to emphasize the splendor of Dorothy’s inner strength, character and a lifestyle where hard work was as natural as drawing a breath.
Dorothy met Garland Tenberg while she was working in a diner and while he was serving his country in the USAF amid WWII. They later married in Illinois and upon his discharge moved to the Tenberg home place in Gonzales where they farmed, raised chickens, cattle and maintained a garden. Dorothy was an independent woman who wanted to make her own income so she went to work for the J.C. Penney Store in town. She worked there a long time and in that time had a chicken house built for herself which she managed on her own. All of this while raising a family, caring for her husband, making breakfast, dinner and supper for her family every day and keeping an immaculate household. Dorothy often addressed her children with sound advice, “you can be poor, but there is no excuse to have a dirty home or not having clean clothes to wear.” Dorothy left J.C. Penney’s and went to work as the Postmaster in Wrightsboro where she worked for many years.
Dorothy loved her family and simply adored her grandchildren. “Granny” as she was so entitled, was the model of a loving and nurturing granny. Though there was no wastefulness or senseless spending, she lived a frugal life and led her family in this manner. She planned ahead and prepared popcorn and sodas from home to take on bingo night and on family excursions a meal was prepared in advance to eat along a roadside park picnic style. There was never any waste, leftovers from a meal were simply used in the following meal or reheated and put in a thermos for her husband’s and children’s lunches. Sunday mornings were for worship and afternoons were for family dinners, big family dinners complete with her world class fried chicken, roast beef and all the trimmings. Meals so magnificently prepared wonders persist as to whether Dorothy started cooking at 3 a.m. or 4 a.m. to complete such magnificence. But all of this was Dorothy’s way, that strength, honesty, love, frugality, hard work and faith, tools she used from her distressed youth to survive. Dorothy was indeed an example of the Greatest Generation and her family is heir to her remarkable perseverance and extraordinary character, priceless in itself, but the greatest of all was her love.
Dorothy Mae Tenberg is survived by her adoring family, son and daughter-in-law, Garland Frank Tenberg Jr. and Sharon of Gonzales, son-in-law, Herman Grauke of Gonzales, grandchildren, Loretta Schurig and Tyree, Carolyn Rogers and Jason, Stephen Tenberg and Sheri, Stacy Fogle and Jason, great-grandchildren, Ashley Schurig, Robert Schurig, Layne Rogers, Jasey Rogers, Natalie Tenberg, Megan Tenberg, Luke Tenberg, Emily Fogle and Joshua Fogle. She was preceded in death by her husband, parents, daughter, Janice Sue Grauke and brothers, Edward Conger, Jim Conger and Jack Conger.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 2, at Seydler-Hill Funeral Home with Pastor Matt Pennington officiating. Interment will follow in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery. Pallbearers: Tyree Schurig, Robert Schurig, Jason Rogers, Layne Rogers, Donnie Tenberg and Matthew Tenberg. Honorary pallbearers: Stephen Tenberg and Jason Fogle. The family will receive friends from 5 to 7 p.m. Friday evening in Seydler-Hill Funeral Home. In lieu of usual remembrances memorials may be made to the I.O.O.F. Cemetery Association or the First United Methodist Church. Friends may leave their condolences by visiting www.seydlerhillfuneralhome.com. Services are under the care and direction of Seydler-Hill Funeral Home.